Virus risk looms large over CBSE board exams: Testing time ahead for parents, students, & teachers

Conducting the pending CBSE board examinations for Classes 10 and 12 from July 1-15 is fraught with risk for both, students, teachers, invigilators and non-teaching staff, school authorities feel, as exams are situations leading to social interaction and crowd-gathering.

On May 18, the CBSE board announced exam dates for all-India and north-east Delhi districts for Class 10 and 12 exams. These exams were postponed due to the nationwide lockdown imposed in March. According to the board, the exams will be conducted keeping in mind the pandemic situation. Students will have to follow physical distancing norms, carry hand sanitisers in transparent bottles and write their exams wearing masks.

Authorities of CBSE board schools claim they will have to be extremely careful while conducting exams as these may pose severe risks. A teacher at a CBSE board school in Santacruz, said, "We are scared because controlling parents and students during exam times is a herculean task. They need to understand the rules of physical distancing. Also, we will have to take stringent precautionary measures while interacting with students at exam centres, for their safety and ours too."

Parents of CBSE students have criticised the decision of the board to conduct exams despite the prevailing uncertainties and risk of virus infection. Ajit Pandey, the parent of a Class 12 student said, "Our children will be exposed to the risk of infection because they will interact with staff and fellow students during exams." Another parent, Sanjana Mhatre, said, "We cannot take such risks, especially when we see that coronavirus cases in the city are increasing every day."

"Just as parents are concerned about their children's safety, we too are concerned about our students' health, said Raj Aloni, principal of the Ramsheth Thakur Public CBSE School, Kharghar. Aloni said, "Parents should trust the exam and school staff as we will take utmost care, with all necessary precautions. We are also worried about the health and safety of our teachers, supervisors and staff." The final dates have been declared on www.cbse.nic.in.

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